Playing Beatie Bow


Ruth Park

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Playing Beatie Bow Characters

Abigail Kirk

The protagonist of the novel, fourteen-year-old Abigail Kirk is a quiet and reserved girl who does not believe in love, and who shares little of herself with the world around her, always keeping herself guarded… read analysis of Abigail Kirk

Beatie Bow / “The little furry girl”

The fierce, fiery, headstrong foil of the book, Beatie Bow is a young girl who finds herself able to move through time—though she does not know that that is what is happening to her. She… read analysis of Beatie Bow / “The little furry girl”

Samuel Bow

Granny Tallisker’s son-in-law and the father of Judah, Gibbie, and Beatie, Samuel Bow is an ex-soldier who still bears the physical and psychological scars of his time in the Crimean War… read analysis of Samuel Bow

Judah Bow

Son of Samuel and brother to Gibbie and Beatie, Judah is a sunny, strapping young man of eighteen who works as a seaman, and is frequently off on maritime voyages. When Judah is around… read analysis of Judah Bow

Gibbie Bow

The sickly youngest child of the Bow family, Gibbie is bedridden and ailing from numerous unnamed diseases. As Abigail gets to know him better, she realizes that Gibbie is not actually ill—he is merely pretending… read analysis of Gibbie Bow
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Granny Tallisker

The matriarch of the Tallisker-Bow clan, Granny originally came over from the Orkney isles north of Scotland with her granddaughter Dovey in tow, to live with her own daughter, Amelia, who had married Samuel Bowread analysis of Granny Tallisker

Dorcas “Dovey” Tallisker

A quiet, sweet, beautiful, and lame young woman who is a cousin of the Bows and the granddaughter of Granny Tallisker. After an accident in her childhood during which she and Judah overturned a… read analysis of Dorcas “Dovey” Tallisker

Katherine “Kathy” Kirk

Abigail’s mother Kathy is a loving but flighty woman who owns a vintage shop called Magpies. After Abigail and her mother were abandoned by Abigail’s father, Weyland, the two formed a close friendship—a… read analysis of Katherine “Kathy” Kirk

Weyland Kirk

Abigail’s father, a handsome half-Norwegian architect who left Abigail and her mother Kathy when he took up with another woman some years ago. Weyland’s absence and betrayal have both weighed heavily on Abigail, and… read analysis of Weyland Kirk

Justine Crown

Abigail and Kathy’s next-door neighbor, Justine is a kind but often harried and distracted woman, mother to both Natalie and Vincent. She is grateful for Abigail’s help in watching the children, and is… read analysis of Justine Crown

Natalie Crown

A sweet but melancholy and easily frightened little girl who lives next door to Abigail, and whom Abigail regularly babysits. It is Natalie who points out the “little furry girl” to Abigail at the… read analysis of Natalie Crown

Dorothea “Doll” Victoria Brand

A sickly prostitute at the whorehouse, with whom Abigail is locked in the attic for a time. Doll tells Abigail her sad story as she coughs up blood and gets drunk on gin, and Abigail… read analysis of Dorothea “Doll” Victoria Brand

Robert Bow

Justine Crown’s brother, Robert Bow, is—like his sister—a direct descendant of Gibbie Bow. When Abigail encounters Robert on a visit to the Crowns’, she is shocked to find that he looks exactly like… read analysis of Robert Bow
Minor Characters
Kathy’s mother, with whom Abigail has a contentious relationship.
Vincent Crown
A rather nasty child who lives next door to Abigail, and whom she babysits regularly. Vincent is obsessed with the playground game Beatie Bow, which both frightens and excites him. Vincent is Natalie’s brother.
The obese and bearded madam of a whorehouse in a dangerous part of the Rocks district.
A husky-voiced pimp at a whorehouse in the Rocks district.
A prostitute at Hannah’s whorehouse. The prettiest and healthiest of the bunch, Maude is the “dress-lodger”—the handsomest girl in any given whorehouse, who is sent out in fine garments belonging to the proprietor.
An Asian man who works in Hannah’s whorehouse.